A new study published in early October revealed unapproved and sometimes dangerous drugs in 746 dietary supplements, almost all of them marketed for weight loss, muscle growth or sexual enhancement.1
About 80 percent of supplements were contaminated by one pharmaceutical that should not have been in the product. Twenty percent contained at least two such drugs, and two of the supplements contained six unapproved drugs. Despite these contaminants, fewer than half the products were recalled.2 In the United States, more than 50% of adults consume dietary supplements, fueling a $35 billion industry.3,4 As the dietary supplement industry continues to grow in the United States, it is essential to further address this significant public health issue.
What Does This Mean for You?
The presence of pharmaceutically active ingredients in dietary supplements makes them unapproved drugs and represents an important public health concern. The study found indications that a large percentage of products continue to be sold and are potentially dangerous even after FDA warnings. This is alarming, especially considering that the FDA is only able to test a portion of products available on the market. Taking a combination of herbal supplements or using supplements together with prescribed medications could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results.
Supplement Safety Tips
If you’re currently taking prescription medications and thinking about starting an herbal supplement, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first about possible drug interactions.
Stick to brands that have been tested by independent sources
Check ConsumerLab.com or U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP)
Do you have any questions regarding your supplements or medications?
Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.
Disposing of medications safely can help protect your family from getting or using medications that are expired or out of date; prevent the illegal use of unused medications and minimize any potential negative impact on the environment. For this reason, the DEA is giving the public an opportunity to dispose of unwanted and/or expired prescription drugs. This is a FREE and anonymous service—take medications back, no questions asked!
Where do I go?
Visit the DEA’s website to find a collection site:
Unfortunately, throwing out your medications as home can lead to many harmful impacts on the environment or create safety risks for trash handlers. In addition, 53% of pain relievers for misuse are given by, bought from or took from a friend or relative.1 It’s important to safely dispose of your medications to help minimize the impact of the recent opioid epidemic.
How can Tria Health Help?
As a member of Tria Health, if you have multiple medications and are afraid you’ll throw away the wrong medication, we can provide additional assistance in selecting the proper medications. Tria provides one-on-one consultations with a clinical pharmacist who assists you with your medication management.
Taking multiple medications can be overwhelming. Some medications need to be taken with food while others need to be taken in the evening. It can become ever more complex with the fear of drug interactions involved. While most interactions are usually not life-threatening, some mixtures of medications can lead to serious – and even fatal – consequences.1 It’s important to talk with your doctor and pharmacist about your current medication regimen to help avoid any possible reactions.
The more medications you take, the higher the risk
The more medications a patient takes, the higher the risk that drugs will interact with each other. According to drugwatch.com, the drug-interaction risks are:
A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago also concluded that children taking multiple medications are also at risk for drug interactions. “Among those using multiple medications, one in 12 was at risk for a major drug interaction, and the vast majority of these potential interactions involved antidepressants.”3
Drug Interaction Types
There are four main types of drug interactions:
Simple steps to avoid drug interactions
Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about any new medications. Make sure they know about any vitamins and supplements you are currently taking.
Follow all the dosing instructions listed on each of your medications.
Keep an updated medication list on hand for any of your medical appointments.
If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities!
Have any questions for us?
Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742
If you take multiple medications, it can be a huge ordeal to keep track of everything; Whether you need to take them in the morning or evening, what your dosage is or if you need to take them with a meal. Medication management can get even more challenging if you have children in your household. It’s important to not only safely store your medicine but also know how to talk to your kids about medication safety.
While most parents know to store medicine in a high cabinet or an unreachable location, it’s important not to forget that there are products you might not immediately consider to be medicine, such as vitamins, eye drops, or foot cream, but they still need to be stored in a secure location.
It’s also important to be alert to visitors’ medicine. If you have a friend or family member staying with you, be sure to check and make sure all their personal belongings are stored in a safe location.
Get Rid of Medicine Safely
When cleaning out your medicine cabinet, make sure you dispose of them properly. Avoid throwing them away in the trash or even flushing them down the toilet. The best method of getting rid of unused medicine is finding a local drug take back program. You can find a location HERE.
Talking to Your Kids
It’s important to educate children about proper medication use. Here are a few tips from safekids.org regarding what to discuss with your children:
Teach your child that medicine should always be given by an adult. It’s important for kids to know that they should not take medicine on their own. Parents and caregivers can help make sure they are taking it correctly.
Don’t refer to medicine as candy. While saying medicine is candy may make it easier to get your child to take medicine, it may encourage them to try it on their own.
Model responsible medication behavior. What kids see us doing is a much stronger message than what we tell them to do. Make sure to store medicine out of reach of children, read drug facts and prescription labels before taking medicine and follow the recommended dose.
If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,
reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742
In extreme winter weather conditions, your friends at Tria Health want to provide you with some tips to keep yourselves and your medications safe this winter.
Medication Storage Is Important for Safety
Most medications should be stored at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees Farenheit). However, some medications have specific storage instructions and most perscription and over-the-counter medications come with inserts that detail safety and storage guidelines.
There are commonly perscribed medications that require specific storage requirements. Some examples include:
Gels and Creams
For information on storage requirements for these, and many other medications, you may visit the National Institue of Health drug information website.
When Medications Aren’t Stored Properly They Can Lose Effectiveness
Prescriptions that are subjected to extreme cold (or hot) temperatures can lose their effectiveness before their expiration date. For this reason, you should always take necessary precautions to avoid storing medications in the car, on a windowsill or in a garage. You should also be aware that many medications can also be affected by exposure to direct sunlight.
There are Signs to Determine if Medications Have Been Exposed to Extreme Temperatures
In some cases, you will be able to recognize when your medications have been exposed to extreme temperatures. However, a medication may or may not show outward signs of temparture damage. Should you notice any of these signs, you should contact your Pharmacist:
Harder or softer to the touch
Pills that are cracked, chipped or stuck together
Creams that appear seperated
Insulin (or other injectables) with visible “crystals”
Pharmacists Will Almost Always Have the Right Answer!
The best response if you feel your medications may have been comprimised is to talk to your Pharmacist—or a Tria Health Pharmacist, if you’re one of our members. A pharmacist will be able to tell you wheter the medication efficacy has been comprimised—and should even be able to help you order a replacement prescription.